Back in the day, my family used to watch TV shows together. Especially the prime time shows…Three’s Company, Wonder Woman, The Jeffersons, Love Boat, Seinfeld, Friends. All five of us, parents and three girls would gather around the sofa and laugh and laugh. Even my super serious and super cranky Dad! Saturday mornings were sacred for us kids. We watched shows like the Justice League, Buck Rogers, Scooby Doo…on Saturday mornings eating our Cocoa Puffs.
Nowadays, my kids watch YouTube, DVR TV shows and binge watch Netflix. It is such a different world. They are in constant virtual contact with their friends via group texts, FaceTime and social media. Everything they watch is ready and available and they don’t need to wait. I used to program our VCR for my favorite shows and MTV video premieres. I get it. But there are so many shows out there, that it is impossible to keep up with all of them. Some of my friends are addicted to Bravo, some to HBO and others to Netflix.
Luckily for us, my kids both recently discovered Stranger Things and The Office. So now, all four of us have a show that we can watch together (we fast forward the inappropriate teenager parts for my 10 yr old with Stranger Things). There is common ground and content that can work for the whole family. It takes a little bit of research and a lot of patience.
I have acquired the unwitting title of “Margarita Maker”. I did not seek this title, but everyone talks tequila with me as though I’m George Clooney and Randy Gerber. As a lifelong calorie-phobe, I have always been on the lookout for low-calorie drinks. Alcohol was never a requirement in my diet. Although in college, we drank a lot of beer at fraternities and boy this put me off beer for life. And, a group of us would go bar hopping as seniors and drink long island ice teas. Now one of those was all I needed because we ran and didn’t bother with dinner! We usually got pizza around midnight. Sigh, youth.
I moved onto vodka and pineapple juice in my early twenties. I was introduced to this drink by a coworker. After finding out that my new and cool drink was over 350 calories a serving, I lost interest…
Gimlets, either gin or vodka were my go to drink in my late twenties. My husband’s uncle, who drove a Porsche 911 made one for me and I loved them. It is what all the cool grown ups were drinking in the late 90’s. My early thirties were all about marathon training. I did not drink any alcohol then because those long training runs were brutal.
What bought me back to drinking was playdates with fellow moms. I remember a lot of wine playdates. I am not a wine person and therefore decided to drink something else. Somewhere in my kitchen was a large stainless steel cocktail mixer with a dozen drink recipes on. Just twirl to the drink of choice and the ingredients appeared on the side! Before this margarita immersion, the only margaritas I had were from that fancy restaurant chain “Chi Chi’s”! The super sweet, goopy, made with fake margarita mix concoctions that came in gigantic glasses.
I made the margarita recipe from my cocktail mixer. It was too sweet for me and had too many calories. I did experiment with some other versions, but I did not care for them. There are many, many margarita recipes out there. But I came across a simple recipe that is the best margarita I have ever had. It is refreshing, delicious and not too sweet. Just for the record, one of these is all I need.
The New Year is just days away. Every year, I have friends and family who make resolutions. Resolutions to change habits, lose weight, do more of something…the list goes on. Many of them achieve success but many of them don’t make it past March.
I have never made New Year resolutions in the past. But this year, I plan on improving myself. The path to change is not easy right? It is not enough to say “I want to change…”. There needs to be a plan with details for change to happen. Writing down the changes you want to make, may or may not help you. This year, I am writing them down.
Change 1: Get enough sleep. Shut everything off and be in bed by 10:30 pm.
Change 2: Manage my time better. Write down a schedule for each day of the week because everyday is different. I will use my calendar to help me from missing events and scramble last minute.
Change 3: Get back to my usual running pace and mileage. I have been plagued with injuries and simply need to do my physical therapy in order to improve certain muscles. I have been blowing off my exercises and it has really affected the way I feel and how I run.
It is a brand new year and I want to make it count. I want to make it an awesome year for me, my family and my friends. Will keep you posted on how it is going! (Pun intended…)
Are you planning on improving yourself this year? How will you do it?
Do you have a uniform? My sister the fashionista, tells me that my uniform is always jeans or shorts, T-shirt and flip flops. “Its always some boring top and and some boring jeans with you, you need to wear more skirts and dresses…do something different…”
My mom had a uniform, in the 70’s, she wore kaftans at home, yes, like Mrs. Roper from Three’s Company. When she went out, she wore polyester pants and and some type of hippie-ish top like many of the other moms. Oh those bell bottoms.
Our neighbor had a uniform, in the 80’s, it was a matching mauve or hot pink leisure jacket with teal and white stripes and matching pants with elastic cuffs. Her shoes of choice were white Reeboks.
My grandfather in India had a uniform. He wore a white cotton kurtha top and matching panchi everyday, (a panchi is a South Indian sarong worn by mostly older men). His clothes and mere presence were the stuff of legend. His clothes always looked clean, crisp and regal.
I saw a guy the other day sporting a tank top and crazy print weight lifter balloon pants. Wonder if that uniform is new or actually from 1989?
All the other stay at home moms I know have a uniform too. Yoga pants or capri pants, some type of Dri-fit top and athletic shoes. I think this getup is the modern day leisure suit. Some of my friends admit to wearing the same clothes they slept in and not showering daily. I know, I expressed the same mouth open outrage when I heard also. I guess they’re saving water and leaving a smaller carbon foot print?
I like my uniform. It is comfortable, transitions from morning carpool to Trader Joe’s to volunteering at school to coming back home to create art.
I would love to wear more dresses and dressy clothes in general. However, as a free lance illustrator and stay at home mom, dressing up daily doesn’t fit my schedule. Now, don’t get me wrong, I do dress up for special occasions, parties and going out with the ladies. I am working on moving away from my comfort zone for fun and giggles. I may have to sport an off the shoulder top on my next girls night out!
A quick and easy recipe that never goes out of style.
Roasted Garlic Brussels Sprouts
1 Bag of shaved Brussels Sprouts (mine is a 10 oz. bag)
2 t Garlic powder (I like a lot of garlic, you can cut back of course)
1/2 t Black Pepper
Salt to taste
Olive oil spray
Pre-heat oven to 375 F.
Wash and drain Brussels sprouts.
Spray olive oil spray evenly to coat a metal sheet pan.
Arrange the sprouts flat on the sheet pan.
Spray with oil spray to coat all the pieces.
Bake for 10 minutes and check them to make sure the smaller pieces aren’t burning.
With a flat spatula, turn them over and cook for another 10 minutes. Ovens vary, so if the sprouts don’t look fully cooked, leave them in for another 3-5 minutes.
Once they are out of the oven, sprinkle garlic powder, black pepper and salt. These come out really tasty. Some pieces are crispier than others.
I am not sure when it happened to me or when it happens to others. As I mark another birthday and shake my head at yet another mole or spot on my face, I realize that I am now mellow. Mellow can mean: aged, cured, developed, rounded, seasoned, cultured or smooth. To me, it means that I am much more easy going than I was in my younger days.
As a kid, there is so much pressure on perfection and learning things properly. Aaah, the exuberance of youth! I see my kids always wanting things to be perfect or to be the best at something. My 12 yr old son has to have all his electronics devices in a certain way. My 9 yr old daughter has to have her stuffed animals in a particular order when she goes to sleep. And both of them love organizing their backpacks in their own way. Heaven forbid, mom puts a water bottle in the wrong place. Their motivation makes me smile.
As teenagers, we still have all that energy, only we pretend we are too cool to care. My room was my sanctuary during my teens. My two younger sisters and parents were not allowed to loiter. All my favorite bands and actors were on my wall in the coolest arrangement of course. A mean comment from one of my friends would send me into a sad brooding spiral. “How could she?!!”
In my twenties, it was all about eloping (that’s another post), career paths, promotions and graduate degrees. No pressure or need for perfection there…right? What I remember about my twenties is that B and I worked really hard and played hard too. Everything just mattered so much more.
My kids came along in my thirties. I had to make the agonizing decision to quit working and be a stay at home mom. Being first time parents is really hard. I remember torturing my family when they came to see the kids as babies.
“Did you wash your hands?”
“Is this one of the sterilized bottles?”
“That is a choking hazard…!”
I went from that to “You can still eat that…we have acids in our tummies that kill germs.”
In my forties, I really just don’t care about all the things I used to obsess about. I tell my kids that they need to relax, that other people have it much harder and to stop complaining. By now, all my family members know each other really well. We used to push each others buttons in our younger days. Nowadays, we still push buttons but less frequently and then say something nice afterwards…
And my friends, many of them are still neurotic about things. They stress about aging, botox, kids and keeping up with the neighbors. But many of them have also mellowed just like me. It’s funny that words of wisdom from the past can help us throughout life. My karate teacher told me “stand tall and be proud”. One of my uncles told me “health is wealth”. And a teacher once told me “be thankful for what you have.” And I tell my kids “do your best, if it doesn’t work out, try again, if it still doesn’t work out, move on to something else .”
Bourbon Hot Chocolate
3 T Cadbury’s Drinking Chocolate or any sweetened chocolate
6 oz Water
1 oz Bourbon
Heat water in a pan until boiling or microwave in a mug for two minutes. Add chocolate and make sure it dissolves completely. Add Bourbon. Viola!
Rum & Coconut Cooler
1 C Orgain High Protein Almond Milk or nut milk of your choice.
1 T Coconut Sugar
1 t Coconut Flakes Unsweetened
1 oz Rum
This is a cold drink. Combine all of the ingredients together, paper umbrella optional.
“Don’t walk in front of me…I may not follow. Don’t walk behind me…I may not lead. Walk beside me…just be my friend.
__ Albert Camus
It is so much easier to make friends as a child. No inhibitions, no baggage and no preconceived notions. The majority of adults have an average of two close friends. Why is it so hard to make friends as an adult? I am referring to friends other than a partner or spouse. Family, kids and schedules cramp friendships. As people get older, they get set into their habits and are unwilling to change.
I had a lot of friends as a child, teenager and as a young adult. However, having kids really strained some of my friendships over the past decade and I have lost many. Facebook has connected me back to many of those. These days I have a few really “immediate” friends. By that I mean friends who I interact with daily and appreciate me for who I am. They know the good, bad and ugly, yet remain friends with me.
My parents and my two younger sisters are my closest friends. It’s a different relationship because we’re family. It’s unconditional. We are constantly teasing and joking. Insults are the norm. Some of our friends are shocked and appalled at the things we say. But it’s all in good fun. We have always been there for each other, barbs and all. I can’t imagine not talking to my parents or sisters everyday and not crack a joke.
My workout buddy “M” and I are friends. Our friendship is very simple and pure. We have been running and biking together for almost six years. We spend countless hours on trails talking about life, family and just cracking bad jokes about people on the trail. It is nice to talk to a friend that listens to rants and does not judge. We finish our workouts and say “see you next time”. My youngest sister always says “I can’t believe M puts up with you for those 8 mile runs!”
Then there are my other friends. They know who they are! There are the ones who text me funny gifs long-distance. There are the ones who keep my neighborhood funny and interesting.
Friendships are a two way street. I have found that there is no perfect friend. Some of my friends have shocked me with their views which are polar opposite from mine. Yet, we respect each others views and agree to disagree. Even if some of them have made rude or insensitive comments over the years, I have realized that they have a good and caring side too. As I get older, I find myself brushing off comments and issues from my friends that would have ended our friendship years ago. I have learned to let things go and it takes a lot of patience. Even if you are an introvert at heart like I am, you really do need to have a few friends.
I am back on the trail and running at 50% of my usual mileage and running slower. Sigh, rehab! I think I have been running and biking on this trail for about 5 years. My running buddy and I have gotten used to seeing some familiar faces over the years. We call these dudes our “boyfriends”. These guys appear to be over 60 and look strong and dedicated. One of them wears a hydration pack and runs a minimum of thirteen miles from our calculations. Another guy rides his bike for at least 30+ miles. So this summer, we haven’t seen any of these guys around. We cannot figure out what happened to them. They just disappeared. We miss them. I mean, we have gotten used to seeing them every week. They wave and say “hi” and we wave back. I hope they come back. They were so inspirational. Meanwhile, we have seen a few new ones…not the same though.